RIPPING up the rail line might not provide immediate answers for Newcastle’s CBD, with the GPT Group unlikely to reconsider its $600 million Hunter Street Mall development.
Nanjing Night Net

GPT blamed inaction over the inner-city rail line as the reason for withdrawing its proposal, but the landscape has since changed with a new state government.

There is growing speculation the Coalition government is set to remove heavy rail from the city, but GPT remained committed to selling off the parcels of land in the mall.

“GPT remains committed to divesting its land holdings in Newcastle,’’ retail portfolio manager Brett Williams said.

‘‘We are exploring a number of opportunities to assist with the divestment that will enable us to maximise the value of the land, activate the space for retailers and deliver the best returns to our security holders.’’

Newcastle Alliance chairman Paul Murphy was part of the Fix Our City group that supported the removal of the rail line in order to revive the decaying east end of Newcastle.

‘‘It was a great opportunity to develop the city, but it’s gone now, it’s over and done with,’’ Mr Murphy said.

‘‘If GPT can’t make it work then I doubt anyone else could and it’s definitely an opportunity lost.

‘‘We need to start looking at what the next opportunity is and if we can get someone else involved with GPT.’’

Nathan Tinkler’s development company Buildev also expressed an interest in developing the site, but withdrew after undertaking due diligence.

A Buildev spokesman told the Newcastle Herald on Monday the mall development was not part of its plans.

‘‘We have moved on to other projects and our focus is no longer on the Hunter Street Mall,’’ the spokesman said.

‘‘Like everyone else we are interested to see what happens with the rail line.’’